How to Leverage News Stories on Social Media

photo credit: Supreme Court via photopin (license)

photo credit: Supreme Court via photopin (license)

Social media has revolutionized the way people talk about news and major events. Really, it is just natural. When you hear about an interesting event or news story, what do you want to do? Most want to share the news with their friends and family, maybe even share their opinion. Over the past few years, people have turned to social media.

As a result, there is a huge spike in social media usage around major cultural events. This includes breaking news stories, major sporting events, really anything that spurs discussion.

For instance, the Supreme Court of the United States just recently ruled that same-sex marriage is legal across the entire United States for the first time. Social media users flocked to their favorite platforms to share their opinions. This is the activity chart for the week of the decision. The decision came on Friday, and you can see Facebook use increase exponentially.

For businesses and brands, this is marketing gold. They want to take advantage of the increased social media usage to try and get their message in front of as many people as possible. Unfortunately, these spikes are fleeting, and so businesses have to act quickly, and sometimes acting too quickly opens your business up for mistakes. Here’s how to leverage breaking news and events on social media.

Think Ahead

A lot of cultural events are scheduled. The Super Bowl, America’s largest sporting event, is always on the first Sunday of February and the teams are determined 2 weeks in advance. You can plan for both possible outcomes, and you’ll know when there will be the most attention on social media. Try to plan ahead whenever possible.

…But Not Too Far Ahead

While it is okay to think of a plan for scheduled events, it is never a good idea to schedule or automate your social posts in advance. You don’t know what could happen during the event that may affect the way your customers interpret the post. Be sure to give yourself a chance to re-evaluate your plan before posting.

Don’t get too cute

Most brands that get themselves into trouble posting during newsworthy events usually do so because they are trying to get too cute or use humor that some may find offensive. It is okay to keep it simple. You can mention an event and express your opinion and/or support without resorting to humor. This will mean you can take advantage of the spike in traffic to the social media sites without risking offense to a portion of your customer base.

Sometimes it’s okay not to post

This is probably the biggest tip of advice I can give you. Not every news story has to be commented upon by your business and brand, and your customers don’t expect you to say anything. Sometimes it is best to stay silent. When thinking about posting about an event, think about your brand and your strategy. If you don’t think a post will help you achieve your branding goals, you probably shouldn’t post.

For instance, a local plumber is considering posting about the success of the local baseball team. This plays into their strategy because it increases the use of their hometown in their social posts, which can help in their search rankings. In this case, it is a great idea to post. But most political news stories won’t necessarily improve the plumber’s desired branding. In these cases, further evaluation may be necessary before posting. It may be best just to stay silent.

The spike in social media usage during major events is too significant to ignore, but acting without strategy or a goal can actually be a negative for your business. Take the time to evaluate the issue or event before posting, and think about the potential consequences of your post before hitting send.

Is there a particular news story or event that your business posted about that got your page more engagement and more visitors? Tell me your story in the comments below.

Alex-Boyer-Photo-150x150-e1420769709443Alex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter @AlexBoyerKC.

Quick Fixes to Polish Your Online Presence

You want to go to dinner, but your regular pizza place is packed. You turn to Google. You want to order flowers for your mom for Mother’s day. You turn to Google. You have a new candidate coming in to interview this afternoon. You turn to Google. You heard someone say that they recommend an auto mechanic. You turn to Google. Every day, people are turning to Google to find things that they need, be it a product or service.

Have you ever Googled yourself? Or your business?

If not, you should stop for a second and go check yourself out. What you see is essentially your online presence, your virtual resume. This is what people see when they are looking for your product or service, you or your business.

Yes, you might think that your Facebook page and website show the epitome of what you are, but do they show up when you are Googled? If not, it’s not lending as much as you thought to your online presence.

What will show up when you are Googled are the networks that you are the most active on, if they are public. For example, this is what it looks like when I Google myself:

kala google

We’ve got my Twitter and my LinkedIn at the top, followed by images. There are also things on here like past jobs and blog posts that I have written.

What does it say when you Google yourself or your business?

Now, how do you get this Google search to be a little more of what you want people to see? Here are some quick tips to polish your online presence:

  1. Consistent profile picture – My “Google myself” example is the perfect example of what not to do with your profile pictures. To present a polished and consistent front, it’s important that all of your public social profiles (from Pinterest and Instagram to LinkedIn and G+) to your author pic on the blog should be consistent. A nice, professional photo of your face, sized correctly, has proven to enhance interactions and connections. People love putting a face to a name, and this is your chance to do that.
  2. To stick with the theme of consistency, if you’re a business – ensure that your logo, company name, and website are consistent across all your platforms. There is nothing more confusing than having different versions of your company name or logo on various sites.
  3. For your business to show up in Google, make sure you register with Google My Business, and that this information (hours, contact info, etc.) is consistent with the information found on your website.
  4. Next, what do your profiles, blogs, and websites say about you or your business when someone does find them and click through? Ensure that your voice is consistent, your contact info is easily accessible, and that visitors know what you and your company are about when they get there.
  5. Content, Content, Content – The more content produced across your various platforms, the more Google is going to pull your website, social media, or blog up to the top. Google loves fresh information. My Twitter and LinkedIn are at the top of my Google search because a) my Facebook has privacy settings and b) I update them both a ton. At Duct Tape, we produce a ton of content. When you search “Duct Tape Marketing” you gain access to all of our sites and platforms, and even a link to Amazon to purchase the Duct Tape Marketing book. Pretty good, right? 

duct tape google


If you’re active online, your online presence can be overwhelming. There are online ads, SEO efforts, massive websites and dozens of social media platforms, but what do people see when they search you? These quick things to check should help your audience start turning more of the results you’d like them to see when they look you up.

IMG_2750Kala Linck is the Community and Content Manager at Duct Tape Marketing. You can find her blogging her travels, praying for summer or tweeting about marketing, coffee and cats @tadasunshine.